World Cup 2010: What can South Africa Expect?

November 28, 2009

With less than seven months until the World Cup is set to take place in South Africa, organizers are starting to feel the pressure of hosting a major sporting event.

Sports Illustrated reports that all10 World Cup stadiums are expected to be completed in time for June, ‘but there remain transportation problems and accommodation shortfalls, with 2010 World Cup organizing boss Danny Jordaan admitting those issues won’t be settled until after the draw is made and teams and fans know where they will be going.’

Still, South Africa will be largely benefiting from the soccer tournament.  Sindh Today writes that according to the Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Rejoice Mabudafhasi,  the World Cup is expected to inject $7.46 billion into the South African economy and an estimated 415,000 new jobs.

Meanwhile, Financial Times columnist Simon Kuper disagrees, stating, “Unfortunately, the economic story is wrong. Barely any academic economist believes that countries get richer from hosting sports tournaments. South Africa has been told this: when its finance ministry flew in three eminent foreign sports economists for a workshop, they argued that, at best, the World Cup would not reduce South Africa’s economic growth. The country expects 500,000 foreign visitors for the tournament, or fewer than it receives in an average month. Much of the money to be made from them will not be made by South Africans.”

But, Gillian Saunders, head of specialist advisory services at Grant Thornton has a different take on the games. In IOL he said, “We will be on TV screens for weeks, and this is incomparable free media exposure – it would cost billions if we had to do it as advertising.”

Jordaan said he is working to improve South Africa’s global image and “convince skeptical fans from around the world that his crime-ridden country is safe.”

Official government statistics of 50 murders a day don’t help his case. Nonetheless, the government has poured more than $93 million into the South African police department and equipment according to SI.com

 

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